Champine restocks a wine display on Wednesday at Discount
Liquor in downtown Waukesha.
WAUKESHA - For many area residents, shopping for the
holiday season involves a stop at Discount Liquor to buy gifts or
for entertaining. At peak times, the parking lot is overflowing and
four lines form in the store as customers wait to check out.
Despite the hustle and bustle of the Christmas
shopping season permeating Discount Liquor, much of the family owned
business’s operations remain the same. One of the family owners,
Frank Greguska Jr., said friends will help pack up sales and assist
customers to their cars. There is also additional help from area
Greguska said hours remain mostly the same, 8 a.m. to
9 p.m. daily, except Sunday which is normally 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.;
however, the store will generally be open longer the two Sundays
before Christmas to accommodate customers’ needs.
Craft beers line an aisle at Discount Liquor in downtown
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
While Discount Liquor has become a local landmark and
is often a location used to give directions, Greguska said shoppers
come from way beyond the borders of Waukesha County. With the
business’s ads going around the state, he said people drive all the
way from Eagle River for liquor, beer or wine.
There are a few things that never change at Discount
Liquor including the family ownership and the deals, Greguska said.
The goal is to always offer the best prices, and
Discount Liquor will match competitors’ prices should someone find
The third generation of the Greguska family is also
getting involved in the business operation, including Greguska’s son
Matt and daughter Karen. The business was started by Irene and Frank
Greguska Sr. in 1960 in Milwaukee. The location at 5031 W. Oklahoma
Ave. is still owned and operated by the family. In 1978, the
Greguskas opened the Waukesha store in the former Sears building. At
the time, Greguska said. downtown Waukesha had many stores, but soon
most of them closed and Discount Liquor was the primary draw for
People’s tastes haven’t changed much since those
early days, Greguska said. While three-martini lunches may be a
thing of the past, he said liquor is still the top seller.
Craft beer sales have increased during the past
years, which Greguska likes because it means supporting the state’s
economy with major beer producers like Lakefront Brewery and New
Glarus Brewing in Wisconsin.
“Those are the ones you want to survive because it’s
part of the local economy,” he said.
Co-owner Michael Greguska oversees the wine
department for the Waukesha store. He said there has been an
increase in the sale of bottles of wine in the $20 category,
primarily because “millennials drink better.”
Discount Liquor carries more than 8,000 wines, 3,500
liquors and 1,000 beers, Frank Greguska Jr. said.
On Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, one
specialty beer brought people out in droves. Frank Greguska Jr. said
there was a line of people waiting starting at 4 a.m. the day after
Thanksgiving to buy some limited edition imperial stout aged in
bourbon barrels from Goose Island. The line stretched through the
store and around the outside.
Even though the holidays are busy for Discount
Liquor, its family owners and longtime staff, Frank Greguska Jr. say
they still enjoy the season.
“We love helping people - that’s what we’re here,” he